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Glass2099

Electronic RPGs Pro/Con for Individual Games

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Last night I made a pretty lengthly post on a now closed thread about "what rpgs do you think are underperforming [?]." I felt this question was a very flawed and oft exploited by posters and professionals alike way at looking for "genre improvement."

What we of the game design interested community should be encouraging discussion over is the pros and cons of common features between specific titles not entire genres that distort one's experiences of the games, many left unplayed. Also, take into consideration the principle of critique (my post was more subjectively focused for a few E(lectronic)-Rpgs that I have played), that is was the game successful in accomplishing its intended purpose for the targeted audience (all to often we target our own interest too specifically, if only in commenting on the quality of a genre and rarely a specific game).

Finally, why is "improvement" such a major focus? Think about how we can shape existing audiences to branch into greater variety of gameplay other than menus, stat and skill manipulation, and the three major types of rpg gameplay: turn-based, third-person real-time, and first person shooter style.

So, let's get some level-headed discussion going without flaming, being genre exclusive (this feels like game eugenics to me when people write with such hatred), or racist stereotypes that undermine the acknowledgement that each individual designer has the creativity and competency to be where they are right now (also, publishers care more about revenues than creativity; designers may not always be in control).

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Original post by Glass2099

What we of the game design interested community should be encouraging discussion over is the pros and cons of common features between specific titles not entire genres that distort one's experiences of the games, many left unplayed.


This is certainly a worthy pursuit, but there are times when a genre-level critique is more appropriate. There is quite a bit of "borrowing" in the video game industry, and the result is that a feature which works well and is well received quickly finds its way into other titles.

Additionally, there may be commonalities between a large number of games which constitute a genre, and genre-wide trends are certainly worth discussion. For example, 15 years ago if we were talking about RPG's we'd be talking about JRPG's, with features and systems being shared among almost all of them. A game that did something new or different would definitely merit comparison with a particular game, but it would also be worthwhile to talk about how the genre itself was affected by it. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your point about specific pros and cons though, could you elaborate?

Quote:

Also, take into consideration the principle of critique (my post was more subjectively focused for a few E(lectronic)-Rpgs that I have played), that is was the game successful in accomplishing its intended purpose for the targeted audience (all to often we target our own interest too specifically, if only in commenting on the quality of a genre and rarely a specific game).


It's hard to objectively judge whether or not you are indeed the target audience for a game. If you only like playing Halo, you may not enjoy the latest Final Fantasy title, as they are entirely different types of game. But if you really enjoyed Chrono Cross, how can you say that the latest Final Fantasy was or was not targeted at you? Certainly not based on your own subjective enjoyment of either game. It's not reasonable to think that just because you didn't like a game you must not be in its target audience; some games are simply poorly conceived or executed.

Denigrating an entire genre because you didn't like a particular game is probably not a fair critique, but if you feel that the latest RPG releases are not up to the standard of previous ones, I don't see that it's especially unfair to critique the direction a genre is headed in. If you don't like WoW, you have a fair point in saying that you don't like modern MMORPG's, because with a few minor tweaks they all crib shamelessly from that game in almost every respect.

Quote:

Finally, why is "improvement" such a major focus? Think about how we can shape existing audiences to branch into greater variety of gameplay other than menus, stat and skill manipulation, and the three major types of rpg gameplay: turn-based, third-person real-time, and first person shooter style.


While there's nothing wrong with coming up with new interfaces and styles of play, there's also nothing wrong with a tried-and-true formula, at least as far as making a good game is concerned. I'm not sure it's feasible to insist that each game be revolutionary in some way, especially given the risk involved in doing so: it's expensive to create a new idea, implement it well, test it, tweak it, acclimate new players to it, etc.

Perhaps if you explained some of the new varieties of gameplay that you allude to in your post I would have a better idea of what you mean, but my reading of your post suggests that you have no interest in the mechanics, the ones that exist or improvements to them, that essentially are the entirety of RPG's today.

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To your first response: Yes, genre trends do exist, but people tend to focus more on stereotypes as a negative rather than the larger features that became widespread because they were popular. When Final Fantasy 4 introduced active time battles many saw it as a genius move and continue to today. The same can be said for a game that influenced ERPGs from the outside, GTA brought wide open sandboxes to the mainstream, which caused many companies and ERPG fans to shift toward that as a preferred mode of pacing and environment for their game. Then there are features that don't cary over like different ways to resolve battle, certain plot twists, quests, and environments that are totally unique to a game.
Certainly, you can observe trends, but that's all that they are bits and pieces of games that carried over through many games, albeit in certain areas of the world where a person's main retail area is, because audiences believe that it made the game more worthwhile. To judge all games with these hard-line genre commonalities would be to ignore what parts are unique to a specific game (good/bad) and if one enjoyed the experience (many people who stated in their comments that they enjoyed playing a game also state they would not recommend it not because genre commonalities kept them from enjoying the game but because they were present).

To Critique response: What I meant by target audience is not entire people but likes that are shared in common across many people (whether they all fall into a certain age range is not always the case but is often the closest way estimate feature relevance to the audience). So, looking at product produced, sales, population of sale areas, returns, peoples' comments about what they liked/disliked, and how similar games are that come out at the same time or recently after sales of said game, I think we can get pretty close to any objective view of each game from the view of standing on its own. Then consider the reasoning behind peoples' likes/dislikes to determine if the reasons for oposing views are both valid.

When it comes to questioning style, I draw the line because this is too subjective as it is come to through concept art which is an aesthetic all of the artist's own that they wish for the audience to appeal to. Whether one values the artwork is meaningless because people judge this on relevance to their own personalities and experiences. For example, I could say that I like the space marine type of character with some clever dialogue because it symbolizes a physical and mental leg-up from the enemy just as easily as I can say I like thin, ungrizzled, spiky haired heroes because my success in the game empowers me with the idea that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to (just because I'm not as big and strong-looking as my enemy on the outside doesn't mean I can't curb-stomp him) and that having hair that grows naturally into deviant styles and colors says a little bit louder (than being muscled, for me) that I'm not just anyone, and some people would agree/disagree with one or both statements but for their own reasons not because of objective fact.

To last response: It is fallacy to say there is any one formula as all "genre" rpgs that are made of similar design quality (bug control, ballance, voice acting, etc.) and who enjoy similar amounts of advertising in the same areas do not always enjoy the same amount of success (ex. Dragon Quest 9 and FF 13) whether it be comercial and/or critical. As an analogy think of game features and games in terms of how combining similar elements on the periodic table can yield completely different materials (similar in parts but different in results).

When it comes to differentiating story elements, I feel that is a nature vs. nurture problem. I have read many times how the book "Hero with a Thousand Faces" describes human nature to overcome evils and perhaps glorify oneself and in the eyes of others. In more open games with a variety of choices, many have the freedom to choose differently (usually keeping to a morally gray perspective) using what I believe are personality traits they gained from life experiences (ex. which of these choices would make me feel best). Not to say that there isn't some overlap with "the heroe's journey" and morally gray, but generally choice, for people who are more appealed by the hero aspect of their nature, tends to be a detriment to the game experience as they now have a character who does not necessarilly uphold their nature, thus making the character less of an entertainment. The same can be said for people whose characters do not have the option to be appealing in ways that the individual player has come to enjoy (the key to this system is having a variety of viable options just large enough that any of them do not feel polarizing either for the evil, neutral, and good usual variety or for mechanical advantage).

To say either of these systems is a detriment or improvement is a eugenicist view as many commentors on all sides with this view then go on to say that you must have an inferior personality for liking those games.

Onto changes in gameplay and mechanics. I don't see a third pillar of personality to use other than nature (hero's journey) and nurture (viable choices that are equally satisfying in their ambiguity), but perhaps our community can come up with some ways to differently interpret these pillars by looking at a few somewhat similar games at a time and expanding on them.

As to your comment on game mechanics not mattering to me, I would say it depends on the game. In KOTOR my attribute scores, skills, and dialogue mattered a lot to me because in my head I was trying to represent how I think my character would develop in his/her situation. In Oblivion, I probably would have liked it better without any stats as they complicated the difficulty for me what with the enemy leveling with you, worrying about the stats menus in relation to being able to travel in the game without getting killed kept me at a distance from the actual gameplay of wielding a weapon and magic while traveling through a medieval fantasy empire, and dialogue options did not satisfactorilly give me the impression my charcter was having any reaction to the events of the game or introspection into his own character. In FF6 I only cared about stats when deciding what equipment to buy versus the effect of the equipment as the story from the many perspectives of the characters (programmed or evoked in my perception by the design of sprite animations, word choices, and quest events) more than eclipse the mechanics as it so appeals to my hero journey nature in it's unique examination of the hero's journey.

What I want from our look at individual games is to: (1) decrease the animousity that ERPG players have toward one another by emphasizing the umbrella term Electronic Role Playing Game and showing how bias and human nature to seek patterns has clouded perceptions so badly that many will not play games from one region or the other; (2) attract designers to new concepts of whorthwile ERPG gameplay and mechanical interaction with that gameplay in an en masse fashion (ie. the imitation that has established gameplay genres like turn-based, medieval, steampunk, quick-time events, rythm, etc.) to create a shared widespread ideal (you may link to this thread on other forums as one feels appropriate); and (3) get everybody (including myself) to learn not only why
decisions in the design of current games are made but also to better empathize with each other in the context of discussing ERPGs.

Sorry for the wall of text, but I really want to make a push even if I myself need some further instruction. What do you think about any one of my statements?
Otherwise, begin the push!

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I know you can't change people's opinions and only the mods can police what people say in forums. I wanted to see if anyone was on board for a little more introspection into all forms of computer/console platform rpgs (which would be less discriminitory as ERPGs) than the normal flame-fest on other forums. Our focus should be a look into the pros/cons of ERPGs on an individual or at least small group basis and then expand on the concepts in those games.

As things stand now even professional developers like Bioware and Bethesda are immaturely flaming Japanese developers still profitable efforts (I'm not shure what Japanese developers are say about us if anything). Criticizing games by nationallity is hardly a valid point as stopping to put down someone elses work is just that, stopping... to develop your own work in order to elevate it by pushing someone down.

If you don't buy into the hate or just want to be part of the think tank (even with preferences and aversions to whatever about any of the ERPGs), post. At the very least we will have interesting conversation and maybe inspire some new directions for gaming.

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I'm breaking this wall of text into chunks that, while far from bite-sized, can be read and interpreted independently. If you don't like a heading, feel free to skim or skip it.

Part 1: A defense of game design "racism"

I think it's fair to categorize a style of game design by the nation in which it was primarily developed. "JRPG" is a genre insofar as there are many games, primarily Japanese in origin, with a shared set of traits. Just like a winery in Pennsylvania can have a German style of winemaking or a Canadian musician can write and perform Caribbean music, so too can a western designer produce a JRPG, and so the moniker deals less with the geographic than with the stylistic.

For instance, a simple MMO with uncomplicated gameplay, time-consuming grind-style character advancement and a strong micro-transaction element could be referred to as "Korean" in style, regardless of where it was developed or by whom. Just saying, "It's like a Korean MMO," can tell the listener volumes about how it feels to play it, and so it's a useful shorthand for the overall style of the game, and if they've been delighted or disgusted by that type of game in the past, they can have a good idea what to expect.

This way, the thousands and thousands of games, and the hundreds and hundreds of studios putting them out, can be lumped into a more intelligible list that can be discussed efficiently, providing a solid set of reference points without requiring us to be thoroughly versed in the industry--past, present and future--in order to have a cogent discussion of games.

Just as a person who doesn't like German wine isn't necessarily a hater of the German people and a disparager of Jewish techno music needn't be anti-semitic, the claim that JRPGs are stagnant is a claim made against the style of game that is currently typical of mainstream Japanese market's output, and games that resemble them. Franchises that have seen little gameplay innovation in the last decade, studios that are pumping resources into window dressing and padding game length while offering mechanics and interfaces that are virtually indistinguishable from the games of yesteryear, remade classics and spin-offs that are clones of original, successful titles are all valid signs of a stagnant industry. There's no injustice in calling it as you see it.

Part 2: Me not really knowing what you want

With that out of the way, what exactly are you hoping to achieve in this thread? Judging by your original post, you're hoping for a title-by-title assessment of strengths and weaknesses, and a studio-by-studio evaluation of current trends and motivations, all presented with academic detachment. Maybe in ten years a doctoral dissertation could be written addressing the games market of 2000-2010 that would meet such criteria, but right now, on this forum, I doubt that any individual, and maybe not even the community as a whole, possesses the depth and granularity of knowledge to present that data here. If they could, I sure wouldn't be able to read the whole thing.

Part 3: Me guessing what you want and trying to give it to you

For my part, I'm a big fan of streamlining RPGs while beefing up the simulation, complicating things under the hood while keeping the interface tight and tidy.

I think there's always been an ideal of what roleplaying should be, going back to tabletop games. The idea is to try to capture the narrative and dramatic power of a good story, the character development and the excitement of a hero, and the sense of escaping to an alternate, more awesome world for a few minutes or hours at a time. In order to present this experience as an intelligible "game", there have to be rules for how the characters, the story and the world operate. Having a DM there to guide and assist is always a good solution, and can lead to great times, but in an electronic RPG, that's not an option. You have to engineer the system to reliably and satisfactorily deliver the elements of a sweet roleplay session time and again.

I'm going to go into Story, Character and World here, and I'll try to offer a summary paragraph before the main ramble. I hope it'll be useful to the skimmers.

Story: We have to find a balance between holding the player's hand all the time and leaving them alone and confused. It's hard for players to know what's important to do, so they try to do everything they're allowed to, thinking that it might be important.

The story is easy enough to do, you've got NPCs and event triggers and world boundaries to shepherd the player into advancing the plot in a useful way, and that ensures that they don't miss any important developments or break the story by acting out of character or abusing game mechanics (hopefully). This can take the form of powerfully linear stories, as seen in games like Dragon Warrior or Zelda II, or it can take the form of open worlds with carefully constructed situations and quest trees that serve to guide a wandering player into successful plot resolution, like Fallout or Daggerfall. Both have strengths and weaknesses, of course. Linear stories have to avoid the "on rails" feeling that they can often engender, while open-world games have to fight both aimlessness and exploitability. There's a whole continuum there, ranging from "Tell the player exactly what to do and don't let them do anything else," to "Leave them to their own devices." I can play Dwarf Fortress, a game entirely devoid of structure, and generate, ex nihilo, a character, a game goal, and a way to try to achieve it. I can also play Final Fantasy 2, have all my decisions handed to me and enjoy the entire arc of the plot, because it is engaging and well-written. My ideal game story takes the form of an elegant world that can allow me to form my own character and goals, and then recognize it and help me enjoy the journey I've chosen for myself, as a good DM would. I don't think any ERPGs have reached that point yet.

What we get instead is sidequests. We're given a game with a main story arc and then a wide array of secondary branches that can be pursued, wherein we learn about supporting characters, solve mysteries, gain insight into the main plot or just gather teh phat lewtz. Inevitably, this leads to the unfortunate "100% complete" syndrome, where players feel obligated to take time and catch 'em all, for fear that they'll be punished for failing to do so. Maybe they won't unlock a character's secret strength, as with Frog in Chrono Trigger, or maybe they'll get a bad ending, like when 80% of the crew dies in Mass Effect 2 because you didn't grind enough currency to upgrade your weapons and defenses on the ship.

Character: I always feel either like I'm collecting and upgrading party members like they're pokemon, or like I'm using player development to determine difficulty levels. It's always all about damage output and weapon properties, never about personality or history. I think this can be changed, but it's so ingrained in the mindset of players and developers that RPG's are often described as, "Games with HP and levels".

As far as character development and presentation go, video games are at a huge disadvantage. Without imagination or a sense of pacing and drama, they are forced to either offer power-ups at key plot points, like the class shift in the first Final Fantasy game, or to use a simple XP grind system to level characters over time, and then balance XP rewards and difficulty in order to guide players to match their pace with the game's always giving a sense of progress while maintaining challenge. This leads to the classic problems: Bandits along the road in the final chapter have ten times the HP that the legendary dragon at the end of the first chapter had. Instant-kill magic suddenly misses every enemy after a certain point. A plucky youth with a borrowed sword can defeat legions of demonic warlords after three weeks of fighting pigs and lizards. The paradigm for improvement always seems goofy, but after years and years of it, players and designers alike seem to be addicted to the idea that people have Dragonball-style power levels that determine how well they withstand an axe in the face or a nuclear blast. Plus, it becomes absurd for a character to be stabbed to death in a cutscene after withstanding thousands of bear maulings, machinegun bullets and sword strokes on the way to the fateful plot point.

If I were in charge, I'd have games feature less out-and-out combat, using training exercises and reduced-intensity engagements to develop character and player skill alike, then present the lethal-force encounters as serious business, to be handled carefully and well. No more goblin genocide, no more one-man army, no more hit points. In the old days, hit points were used so that a human brain could simulate a character's condition with a few dice and a pad of paper. Now that computers are doing the work for us, thousands of variables can be tracked and modified in nanoseconds, allowing deeper simulations of condition and capability, and then presenting it usefully to the player. What's more, hiding the nuts and bolts can allow the computer to cheat for or against the player, offering reserves of strength, weaknesses of will or critical hits at times when it is appropriate. We don't yet have software that can made those judgements, and players wouldn't accept "teh hax" in a direct way, but an intelligible system of weighting dice rolls or storing up potential could be engineered that will encourage and reward a style of play that deviates from the min-max status quo and approaches genuine roleplay.

And that's just dealing with players getting hurt in fights. Modern processing power, data tracking and stylistic analysis should allow character development to be enriched similarly. Street Fighter IV learns my combos and counters them after a few instances, and Smash Brothers even offers a veritable psych analysis after each match, judging aggression, finesse, item preference and countless other facets. Why can't my swordfighting avatar gain stat points and special moves based on how I play? In fact, they can. Kengo II for the Playstation did just that, weighing my preferences and performances in both training exercises and live bouts to determine the allocation of skill points to my katana-wielding self. I got faster, or stronger, or more agile, or more resistant to pain, with each passing in-game day, and I never heard a "ding" or allocated a point. I just fought and trained. I loved that, but I never see it anymore.

Character growth and performance should feel more organic, and should be bound to decisions that the player makes. What's more, it should be bound in ways that are not so obvious, ways that are not micro-manageable. I don't want to be calculating DPS or mathing out how many boars I need to kill before I can cast a new healing spell.

World: ERPGs, and video games in general, have staggeringly badass worlds, which is great. Hopefully, developments in story and character development can allow those worlds to influence and be influenced by the actions of the player. Ideally, the world will be able to react and change to accommodate and encourage roleplay.

The game world is a great strength of the ERPG. Vast, beautiful, diverse worlds abound. Simple shooters like Crysis take place in locales of breathtaking detail and majesty. Oblivion has deserts and oceans and snow-capped peaks and lush jungles and bustling cities, but so did Final Fantasy 3. World of Warcraft and other MMOs offer thousands of square miles of terrain, populated with interesting characters and chock-a-block full of things to do. With procedural content generation, you don't even need a huge team of artists and designers for this. Tiny teams like those responsible for Minecraft or Dwarf Fortress can offer incomprehensibly large worlds, and DF in particular is moving toward a level of simulation that boggles the mind, mapping hundreds of years of history, tracking the rise and fall of civilizations and the flow of mighty rivers and the lives and deaths of individual peasants and the corn crop for each and every simulated year. With proper controls, worlds can be built in minutes that have history and drama built right in, worlds where you can drop yourself in and start asking around about the local dragons and tyrants, or open a shop and make a living running caravans from place to place. Many of these features exist today, in various forms, and they're not going anywhere.

Closing thoughts:

A big problem with video games in general is that players are awesome at them. We'll reverse engineer your leveling system, find out where the best farming spots are, break your AI and formulate the perfect allocation of skillpionts that will allow us to stroll through the hard parts and glitch past the rest. Maybe someday there'll be a game that's so fun and rewarding that players will stop caring about doing things with perfect efficiency and start doing them in the way that seems most rad. If you can build a framework in which that kind of gameplay becomes possible and intuitive, you'll have a great RPG on your hands. If you choose instead to tell a great story, and use a video game to do it, then you'll be called upon to make the gameplay complement the tale in a way that makes players feel and see the story in a richer, better way.

And yeah, I didn't like FFXIII. There's nothing I hate more than a mediocre eight-hour movie that's presented in the form of a mediocre 80-hour video game.

MMOs, DLC and player-authored content can offer a lot of strength to RPGs, but there are pitfalls there, too. This is already a terrifying wall of text that I don't expect anyone to read start to finish, so I'm going to quit here. It's fun to think about this, but in order for the conversation to be more useful, maybe a narrower focus is called for.

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Now, we may not be talking about something as important as world peace, but Iron Chef Carnage your level of consideration to this thread and the thought you put into it was BeAUtiful!

I believe your defense of the characterization of "JRPGs" is a valid point. My problem with the characterization concerns all the negative conotations that come to many player's minds when they here the word without considering that the game may not possess these undesirable qualities or otherwise presents them in a way the biased gamers might find fun if they would either find a way to play the games or do some research from "all-sides" of reviews.

Stories, Characters, Worlds:

While, I agree with you that having a world respond to you and a person being able to have characters that grow in complexity with their own player set goals and stories would be a massively cool new venue for the ERPG genre to go, I do not believe this is necessary for every game. Some players like stability

(a well-paced story that like a well-written thriller or fantasy novel has events the player would love to have been apart of, but in the game they actually get to be)

and detailed design

(unless certain aesthetic mandates, gameplay functionality rules, and pattern generation principles can be programed I fear we may never see randomly generated worlds that do not look very similar all over the place as many felt Daggerfall was, not to mention buggy, or in some cases unwinnable situations like in Spelunky; I don't know about Dwarf Fortress as that game is less concerned with graphical representation, but its history --and apparently detailed geological-- generation sounds promising).

Perhaps some new story ideals other than world-threatening crisis aversion (saving doesn't sit right with me because while you keep the world from destruction or those who try to conquer it, evil still obviously exists afterward) would make story-driven ERPGs more relevant to older audiences. For new youngersters getting to the ages when they can begin to play these games, the ideal of "saving" the world is completely new to them and encouraging of the hero's journey in human nature, so I do NOT think the purity of this ideal should be completely abandoned, unlike the many who have protested that it should be abandoned. However, whether there is a game designer-paced story or not does not matter as long as gameplay is smooth and entertaining, characters feel alive with a developing personality and some introspection into their own characters, and/or compelling context for the player's actions in the game.

For the intents and purposes of this thread:

Just talk about ERPGs you have played or researched without relying heavilly on the apparent style of the game to influence other's judgements of it. If you feel like it observe what the game was trying to accomplosh for whom and if it was effective (like a critiqe of any other media). If the game could have had additional features or improvements to any of its features, explain how those feature changes would have better presented the game for the audience you think it was aiming for. Later, we can go back and expand further on you guys' proposals to better explore what an ERPG can be.

P.S. Carnage, even if the game you mentioned, Kengo II, is not a proper ERPG (posibly a hybrid?), talking more about your knowledge of it and gameplay experiences of the game seems to me like a totally relevant addition to this thread.

Also, I know I did not address everything in your post, but I assure you it is considered by myself completely valid and merits further discussion for the advancement of ERPGs. Thank you.

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Could you sum up what this is all about for those of us that are only skimming the current posts? It's looking suspiciously like one of those threads that claims that you can't possibly limit RPGs to RPG-like gameplay but wants us to improve them, which is tantamount to saying, "how can we make better games?" and that is far too broad a question.

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Thanks for your suggestion Kylotan. The flame wars between JRPG an WRPG have been eating at me, so I thought some proper discussion of some of the individual games in these genres might be worth a shot. Hope this helps:

Write what you liked/disliked about certain Electronic RPGs in as close to objective way as you can (if you do/don't like a certain element of style, write what kind of message or feelings you believe that style creates). Try to focus your post on a single game, as I want to show that each ERPG has its own merits besides features that are copies of those from previous games. If someone feels a part of their post needs further discussion, let's do so (and have fun while discussing). Gathering data about existing ERPGs and their different features and innovations will hopefully be better accomplished this way with some experience and thought about how these games played. With a snapshot of existing ERPGs, the possibility of creating new, viable innovations seems much more probable (Notably: Bioware used Mass Effect's fanbase in refining the sequel). Thanks for your participation.

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Quote:
Original post by Glass2099
Thanks for your suggestion Kylotan. The flame wars between JRPG an WRPG have been eating at me, so I thought some proper discussion of some of the individual games in these genres might be worth a shot.

What's a WRPG? I don't see people using that term on this forum... nor have I seen many flame wars either.

Quote:
Write what you liked/disliked about certain Electronic RPGs in as close to objective way as you can (if you do/don't like a certain element of style, write what kind of message or feelings you believe that style creates). Try to focus your post on a single game, as I want to show that each ERPG has its own merits besides features that are copies of those from previous games.

So, you want people to list games they like, so that you can show them your theory is right? Why not just list the games and explain it yourself?

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Sorry, Kylotan, I meant other forums on the net. Anyways, people believe what they want to believe. The heated debates on those other forums just ignited a little bit of passion in me to start this.

What this is is merely a look at existing games (in the category of all RP games coded for use on computers or consoles, i.e. ERPGs) or rather their unique perspectives and features (the level of uniqueness may be subjective, but look at how perspectives/stories/features were used in just one game) on a game by game basis.

As for a theory... no, I don't really have one. What I am hoping for is that everyone participating enjoys sharing their experiences and looking critically into the ERPGs they have played. A second goal is to gain incite on what alterations or new features could be implemented to expand the fun factor for more people and/or new audiences. Having people, especially those in the dev. community sharing how they felt the game features worked for the game gives me more confidence in my design decisions.

This thread could be one more source for many people looking to develop new ERPGs and possibly games in other genres.

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Sorry, for double-post, Kylotan. I saw what you meant in that last quote. When I wrote about each ERPG having their merrits, I meant it more as... I don't know, my driving force? Anyway, examing individual or maybe only a few very similar ERPGs at a time helps me learn a lot more than generalizations many posters across the net have used.

When I say I don't really have a theory, I mean that I only have those two said goals narrowed down for the purposes of this thread. Games having individual merrits is just a concept I value over the "Genre Wars" on forums across the net. Sorry, for any unintended rudeness or confusion in that post before your last reply.

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